Need a Mac, somewhat confused

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by EJ Lala, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. EJ Lala macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2016
    So I'm in the market for a Mac, I'd rather not spend more than ~1100$ before tax/shipping and I have no problem with refurbished machines as long as I can get warranty on them. It will only be used for application development, using some of my existing peripherals at home and work. I would prefer to be able to connect to 2 QHD monitors (LG 27MB85R), one via mini-dp one via hdmi. I have been looking at the Mac Mini, Macbook, Macbook Air, and 13" Macbook Pro.

    From what I can gather, the Macbook and Macbook Air can only run 1 monitor at that resolution @ 60hz due to the single port, but the Mac Mini and 13" Macbook Pro (2017 model) can both run 2+ monitors. Is this correct? Is it possible to charge the 13" Macbook Pro or others while still connected to 2 monitors and Ethernet through an external 3rd party hub/dock? Are these hubs/docks mature enough to run bug free for extended periods?
  2. techwarrior macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2009
    Weighing in on Mini here. My experience with MacBooks is slim in recent years.

    I have two Minis (2014 model) and have 2 24" Dell monitors using HDMI and MDP to DVI or HDMI.

    Rumors have it a new Mini model is due by years end, so if you decide this route, it might be worth waiting.

    Current models have USB3 (4 ports), Thunderbolt2 (2 ports), HDMI. new models are expected to have CPU and GPU boosts, and Thunderbolt3 ports. Being a desktop model, dropping ports is not as likely as with MacBooks. I definitely recommend SSD for storage, but R&R of HDD is not difficult. I recently replaced 1TB HDD with 1TB SSD in one of the machines, it took about 30 minutes to perform the surgery. They only offer 250GB PCI SSD, or 1TB Fusion as upgrade options.
  3. Sackofnickels Suspended


    Jul 13, 2018
    I have a 2.6 2014 Mac Mini running two Samsung 4k monitors via the 2 Thunderbolt2 connectors to the mini displayport on the monitors, but only at 2560x1440 at 60 hz. There is also an hdmi port on the mini but i have not used it.

    Also see:

    As far as a MB Air is concerned, I believe it supports daisy chaining two monitors using thunderbolt II, but the monitors also have to connect using Thunderbolt. I have read you can chain thunderbolt monitors together using one connection from the computer. Unfortunately two thunderbolt equipped monitors alone will eat up most of your budget.
  4. halluxsinister macrumors regular


    Oct 17, 2017
    Hate to say it, but... why are you in the market for a Mac? If you aren't already trapped inside the iApple eCosystem, my advice would be STAY AWAY. Apple has been circling the drain for years, (it may not look it because of their artificially inflated bubble stock price and market cap,) but... let's look at facts, not self-serving myths.

    1. Apple appears to be edging closer and closer to becoming a cellphone and accessories and music company, that also still for some reason sells computers. The last real computer they produced was the Trashcan Mac, a stupid-looking, overpriced design-esthetics-ABORTION that when it didn't sell like hotcakes, (go figure, people didn't want to dump half the price of a new car on something that looks like a trashcan, can't really be expanded meaningfully, (not inside anyway, TOO SMALL) they basically abandoned it. Like the Mac Mini they abandoned YEARS AGO, it hasn't seen squat in updates since. Also, the last "update" of the Mac Mini was no upgrade. In almost every respect, it was a DOWNGRADE, and you'd be a fool to consider one. Apple's "commitment" to the Mac as a platform should not be taken seriously until they do something to demonstrate that it's not an afterthought.

    Apple could have done a lot of work on both, but instead they've been pissing millions or possibly billions of dollars up a flagpole constructing a giant, fancy new "campus" (office building) on some of the most expensive land on Planet Earth, for NO really good goddamned reason, and trying to make a self-driving POS car that will probably never see light of day because face it, the last thing even the most hardened Apple Fanboy wants is an iCar. (Next, I wonder if Apple will try to get into home-building. Why not, it's an untapped market...) So they've been squandering OUR money (that we overpaid them for these various overpriced machines,) and doing nothing productive with it. I say, "don't reward this behavior."

    The last really good MacMinis are used and several years old, the last quad-core models. Newer ones have virtually no upgradeability or repairability. The iMac, similarly, is essentially in between the Mini and the Pro, but it comes welded to a monitor and you can't really separate them, because they're designed not to work right if you do. Which is to say, they're designed to work with the monitor integrated. If you don't want to pay a BUNCH of extra money for an Apple monitor welded to the front of your Mac, you're kinda SOL because your only other alternatives in a new Mac are the ugly, overpriced TrashMac, and the MacMini Obsolete Edition.

    Now of course, if you have more money than sense, there's the iMac Pro, which takes the MacPro's guts (or an upgraded version thereof, and welds a great, big, overpriced monitor to it. If you're thinking of buying a brand new sport bike, like a Kawasaki Ninja, but decide instead you'd rather have an Apple computer, the iMac Pro is for you. (Seriously. The base iMac Pro starts at $5000, and runs up to just south of FOURTEEN GRAND, fully loaded, provided you don't buy any additional accessories.) Just by comparison:

    The Kawasaki Ninja 400 without ABS has an MSRP of $4999, (see though MSRP is of course probably inflated to allow for wiggle room in negotiations, to aid in getting financing, etc.

    The Kawasaki Ninja 1000, WITH anti-lock brakes, or ABS, is still cheaper than the fully loaded iMac Pro, as is the VERSYS 1000 LT, at just $12,999 (again, MSRP) and you get a MOTORCYCLE for your money.

    I could go on, but I think you get the point. There are OTHER computer manufacturers out there, or build your own from parts and probably save money.

    As to what to put on one you but from someone else or build yourself, GNU/Linux, what else? You can get somewhere between double and quadruple the raw performance for each dollar you spend if you don't buy something with a fruity little logo stuck on the front of it.

    I have a Mac, myself. And I have determined it's my last. I got a REALLY good price on it, but I am fed up with the direction Apple is going in. I've had it with the BS, and I'm exiting the ecosystem when it comes time to do my next round of upgrades.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that Apple's going to tumble hard when users get good and fed up, (they will eventually,) with all the stuff that's supposed to just work, that just doesn't. From faulty keyboards, to failing batteries, to security flaws and hacks and interoperability issues, to Apple deciding to force their vision of the "future" down our throats, without any mechanical buttons, without headphone jacks so they can upsell you some headphones that don't do anything meaningfully different from, let alone better than your old ones, except need to be periodically recharged and costing you a BUNCH more money... the way I see it, this high-flying Apple, Inc. is being artificially propped up, I don't think it's sustainable, and they're going to fall SO hard when the bill comes due, when people figure out what the actual value of the company is. It's not going to last forever, I don't think, and here's some evidence of it.

    I have been buying Apple products for about 6 years since I reluctantly let myself get dragged into the ecosystem because I wanted a smartphone and computer that actually worked together, and got tired of Android, (that I still largely can't stand,) and despaired of waiting on the empty promise of a "Ubuntu Phone" (hahahahah... still waiting on that,) and all the other vaporware smartphones that didn't pan out. I've reached the point where I'm ready to get a flip phone and they can keep all their "smart" BS. To me, it's a fad, and I've just about outgrown it, so interoperability will become a moot point, and all I really need, without the need for that, GNU/Linux is more than capable of, so I don't need a Mac, or won't in the future, anyway, and I suspect strongly that I'm not alone.

    Best of luck with this decision.

    Just remember this: when you're considering buying Apple hardware, there's no such thing as "under a thousand dollars". It ends up costing and costing and costing and costing...
  5. Sackofnickels Suspended


    Jul 13, 2018
    I am sure you will receive responses from those who disagree. Those with endless optimism for Apple.

    I agree with your comments for the most part. However; It is hard to support the "circling the drain theory" with Apple profits going through the roof, and with the company reaching the 1 trillion dollar mark, it does not seem like impending doom.

    I do agree, if they continue on their current path, eventually they will find themselves burning through cash trying to come up with the next great thing, because the smartphone market can no longer support their business model.

    The smartphone market is still hot for them and it is obviously profitable. Abandoning products that put them on the map on the first place is a huge gamble. It's still baffling to me that a company that sells outdated computers (Mini, Air) for a premium no less, can show such astronomical profits. I attribute the phenomenon to loyal customers who are willing to forgo a motorcycle to buy a computer.

    You can call it what you will, but it's happening. For how long is the question. Do you invest in the overpriced eco-system now or look for something else?
  6. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    I am assuming you're doing app development for either IOS or Mac OS X, as you stated. Also, that you're past the "market Research" part of your effort, and have determined that this is something worth your effort, and that you need a Mac to do the development/testing/support. As I am sure you're aware, 200M+ iPhones are sold each year, and 50M+ Mac OS X devices. The IB is much larger. Only you know if the currently available Macs will work for you, though as has been noted the Mini is long overdue for an upgrade. Will what is available now work - and you can get started - versus waiting for an update.

    But to answer one of your questions, product bought from the Apple Refurb site on are sold with "as new" warranty, and are eligible for Apple Care (longer term support contract).
  7. James259, Aug 10, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018

    James259 macrumors newbie

    Nov 19, 2015
    Hi EJ Lala,
    Another option:
    • Build a hackintosh. For less than $1100, and if you feel comfortable with putting together your own computer, you will create a machine that is likely to be faster (from a benchmark perspective) than the mac mini, most imacs, and the 6-core mac pro.
    If you select the right combination of components, and are willing to occasionally roll-up your sleeves to make a few simple adjustments to the OS using existing patches, then you will be able to handpick a graphics card that utilizes your monitors, and will have a stable system.

    If you don’t want to roll-up your sleeves, build or buy a windows or Linux machine with at least 32GB of memory, run VMware workstation player (free) or Virtualbox (also free), and load whatever versions of MacOS you need. You can even have multiple versions of the Mac OS.

    A hackintosh or machine running virtualization is likely to be better value for money than a new or refurbished mac. Search online for ‘hackintosh’ to get a sense for what is needed if you want to investigate that route.

    Best of success!

    PS. Apple’s warranty is okay, but if you open the case and alter the hardware configuration of the machine (ram aside in most cases), they will refuse to honor the warranty, even for a problem that began before you altered the hardware. I speak from experience.
  8. vanman1 macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2018
    SF bay area
    Sadly I agree. This new Imac Pro will be my last apple product. This is the 5th mac computer after 34 years, from a 50 Mhz Preforma that had easily added up-grades for video/audio in/out, TV tuner and some others I forget.
    The switch from osx 10.2 on the dual G4 to 10.13.5 has been jarring and some programs don't work nearly as well as the old ones??? Was looking at System 76 a maker who will, it seems make the hardware you want with the software loaded and ready to go.
    Well the 27" LG makes my photos look really good anyway compared to the tired CRT:)
  9. EJ Lala thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 11, 2016
    Trust me guys, I'd like the avoid getting back into Mac if possible but it's simply not a choice at this time we will be starting iOS development in ~3 months. The whole warranty thing is due to bad experience in the past with an imac's corrupted display while out of warranty due to defects that Apple later acknowledged and fixed but at that point I had already tossed the machine when they refused to fix it (2010 or 2011 model I don't remember which).

    Hackintosh and Virtualization is also out of the question due to workplace policy, these options were brought up in a meeting and rejected by upper management aka lawyers. Buying new thunderbolt monitors is also out of the question, I simply don't have enough company provided funds to cover all the hardware so I need to reuse the displays I've already got not mention that it would complicate things for my existing Windows based ecosystem. I thought I was finally out of the Apple ecosystem except for my iPhone until this bombshell was dropped by management.

    halluxsinister I do agree with most of your sentiment, I think there is far better value outside of the Mac ecosystem for users that don't require lots of tech support.

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